While the Vyapam scam has tainted the BJP’s image, Law Minister Sadananda Gowda’s statement in the media today has exacerbated public outrage. On being questioned by the media about the PM’s silence on the Vyapam Deaths, Gowda stated:
“The concerned ministers and party president have answered. For each silly issue asking the Prime Minister to answer is not fair.”
Gowda is not the first BJP leader to make an ignorant statement in the media that portrays him as being completely out of touch with public sentiments. In fact, he is so far from being the first’ that his initiation into the squad of ‘silly’-statement-making-BJP leaders compels me to introduce you to his fellow team-mates who are already up on the Hall of Shame.
Arun Jaitley: The Astronaut
Arun Jaitley is the BJP’s own Neil Armstrong, coining his own version of “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Only, in this case his declaration revealed how little he cares about women safety.
“One small incident of rape in Delhi — advertised world-over is enough to cost us billions of dollars in terms of lower tourism.”
Arjun Jaitley’s use of the word small in connection to the Nirbhaya incident is eerily similar to Gowda’s use of the word silly in connection to the Vyapam deaths: insensitive and unjustifiable.
Hema Malini: The Drama Queen
Hema Malini, newly elected MP from Mathura, irked the electorate immediately after her victory by hardly visiting the constituency. ‘Hema Malini is ‘Missing’ posters across the town. It took her precisely two more months to rile them again with the following statement that she made while in her constituency:
“There are 40,000 widows in Vrindavan. I think there is no more place in the city. A large population is coming from Bengal… that’s not right. Why don’t they stay in Bengal? There are nice temples there. The same is true for those from Bihar.”
A Google search of ‘why widows go to Vrindavan’ would have been advisable for starters, but with the lasting damage Hema’s comments have caused, it’s probably best she sticks to pre-written scripts and rehearses several times before making uninformed statements like: “Vrindavan widows have a bank balance, good income, nice beds, but they beg out of habit.”
Harsh Vardhan: The Protector
In a society where conversations about sex often makes people uncomfortable, Harsh Vardhan put all these concerns to rest, by assuring us that moral values are supreme to all the hogwash about sex education. In June 2014, India’s health minister made the following statement to the New York Times:
“The thrust of the AIDS campaign should not only be on the use of condoms. This sends the wrong message that you can have any kind of illicit sexual relationship, but as long as you’re using a condom, it’s fine.” He goes on to say that, “condoms promise safe sex, but the safest sex is through faithfulness to one’s partner.”
Vardhan’s concern over perfecting moral messaging rather the public’s health raises questions as to whether he is the Health Minister or the Morality Minister.
Sakshi Maharaj: The Progenator
Sakshi Maharaj is another condom-hating custodian of the Indian culture. The following statement is evidence:
“The concept of four wives and forty children just won’t work in India but it is high time that every Hindu woman must produce at least four children to protect the Hindu religion”.
It’s safe to say that Maharaj hasn’t seen the latest census figures, but his controversial remarks definitely invited some witty puns about new slogans for the BJP: Ab Ki Baar, Bacche Char,’ or ‘Make In India Plus 4’ are personal favourites.
Smriti Irani: The Degree Collector
While Smriti Irani would otherwise join the cultural custodians for her noble move to introduce ancient Hindu texts in the school curriculum, she is better known for controversial affidavits concerning her own educational status.
Rather than demonstrating how a formal degree doesn’t make you more qualified as a Minister, and potentially earning some respect, Irani chooses to reinforce the stereotype that one is defined by their degree. Her statement at the India Today Woman Summit sums this up:
“In that kitty of mine where people call me ‘anpad’ (illiterate) I do have a degree from Yale University as well which I can bring out and show how Yale celebrated my leadership capacities.”
Mind you, this Yale Degree was obtained after participating in a 6-day leadership programme, with 10 other MPs, who are *surprise* also proud Yale degree-holders.
Narendra Modi: The Leader (Despite Being A Man)
The Prime Minister has had his fair share of controversial media statements, making him the leader of this squad. Not only is he a self-proclaimed saviour of Indian pride, but he is also patronising and somewhat chauvinistic when it comes to his assessment of women leaders. If the hash tags #ModiInsultsIndia and #DespiteBeingAWoman ring a bell, then you know what I’m talking about. Here are the full excerpts for you to make your own judgment:
“Earlier, you felt ashamed of being born Indian. Now you feel proud to represent the country. Indians abroad had all hoped for a change in government last year”. – Modi in Shanghai
“I am happy to say that the prime minister of Bangladesh, despite being a woman, is saying boldly that she has zero tolerance toward terrorism.” – Modi in Bangladesh
So what do you think? Does the Modi Cabinet make you proud?
This post was written in collaboration with fellow blogger Saanya Gulati.